Good morning everyone!
I hope you all are having a nice week. I’m just “working for the weekend” as the song says (lol). Although funny, it is the truth sometimes! I’m thankful for my job, and the income and benefits it provides, but sometimes I really just want to get through the week and have another weekend with my family. If only there were a way to extend our weekends without giving up money…
Anyway, today I have a fun post for you (at least I consider it fun!) that involves something my family and I struggle with often – weekly lunches.
Sometimes, it is so difficult for my husband and I to take lunch to work every week day. We know we should to help save money (and probably some calories), but it doesn’t always work out. Through my Pinterest and blog perusing, I have come across a lot of ideas to help make weekly lunches easier to prepare and a little more interesting. I wanted to share some of my favorite tips and tricks to hopefully help you make your weekly lunch break more enjoyable!
Put In Some Prep Work
I’m sure many of you have thought of this one, so it goes without saying that prepping your lunch the night before is a great idea! It helps save you time in the morning rush of getting yourself (and maybe kiddos) together for work, school, or your daily tasks. Cut up those fruits and veggies, put that dressing in a to-go container, and make your sandwiches or main dish before you go to bed. Pack your lunch, drinks, and snacks for the day in a sturdy lunch bag, and you can just grab it and go when its time to leave.
Leftovers Are Your Friend
When my husband and I got married, he was not a big fan of having leftovers of dinner for lunch the next day. The idea of food sitting in the fridge and having to be reheated somehow made him think leftovers were time-consuming and not very tasty. He has since realized that re-heating food in the microwave is quite speedy, and it still tastes yummy if you do it right. Also, using leftovers for lunch the next day is a great way to save some money! The things I have found that re-heat the best are: pizza, pasta, rice, vegetables, beef, and pork (to name a few). Chicken is very finicky when trying to re-heat it in the microwave. However, I have found that if you’ve cooked your chicken in the Crockpot, it tastes much better re-heated the next day than if it were cooked in the oven or another vessel. So, the moral of the story: Leftovers are your friend!
Frozen Meals: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly
We all know that frozen meals are not the healthiest thing to eat for lunch. However, they are easy to grab in the morning before walking out the door. Although my husband and I don’t do frozen meals as our first choice for lunch, it is still an option. I like to wait until our favorite meal brands go on sale and then stock up with about a week’s worth. Some of our favorite brands are: Healthy Choice, SmartOnes, Lean Cuisine, and Chili’s (<<< my personal fave! Very satisfying). Another issue with frozen meals is often there isn’t enough food to keep you full. We try to combat this by taking fresh fruit or veggies to eat with it. That way, there is a little balance in what we’re eating and we’re also filling up with good stuff too. When I do stock up, we usually will alternate between the frozen meals, leftovers, and prepped lunches, so we’re not doing frozen meals for lunch 5 days a week!
Freezer Friendly Meals
If you follow foodies on Pinterest, you will normally come across a post every now and then about freezer meals. I love freezer meals because they make dinner time so much easier! But, did you know you can use this same idea for lunch? I’m sure you did, but just by chance that it hasn’t crossed your mind, try it out! Make a couple of sandwiches or wraps – PB&J, Turkey & Cheese, etc. – each week and stash them in the freezer. Leave them on your desk when you get to work and they will defrost in time for lunch. You could also do this with fresh fruit and veggies if you wanted to prep them a few days before you actually take them for lunch. Soups and chilis freeze well too. Use air-tight containers, and once you remove them from the freezer, keep them refrigerated until ready to re-heat in the microwave.
Breakfast For Lunch
We’ve heard of breakfast for dinner, so why not breakfast for lunch?! Going along with the previous idea, here are two recipes for breakfast freezer meals you could also try for lunch. They sound scrumptious!
Freezer Breakfast Burritos Recipe from Gimme Some Oven
Make Ahead & Freeze: Breakfast Sandwiches from The Pioneer Woman
Lunch Box Tips
Aside from what you may take for lunch during the week, there are also some little tips I would like to share on convenient ways to pack those lunches:
- Use ketchup, mustard, mayo and salad dressing packets you have in your kitchen drawer for condiments in your lunch box. A great way to use those up, and you’re also not dirtying more dishes than necessary.
- Use plastic utensils for your cutlery to, once again, use up what you have left from parties or other things, and also keep from dirtying dishes.
- If you don’t have fridge in your office, pack your cold lunch items with an ice pack.
- If you don’t have a microwave in your office, heat up warm items in your microwave and pack them in a thermos. Great for soups, leftover chicken nuggets, pizza rolls (that’s right, I’m talking real life people!), and whatever else you can fit in there!
That’s all the tips I have for you today! What are some tips and tricks you use for your weekly lunch box? Comment below; I’d love to know!